Court Ordered Pause: Part Two

This is a follow up to Court Ordered Pause.

Wow, you all (or perhaps I should say ya’ll…after all, I am a Texas gal!) gave me quite a bit to think about yesterday. Thank you for the responses from around the globe.

Some of the prolonged waiting periods feel absolutely horrific. My divorce took 8 months due to stalling on the lawyers’ part ($$$) and my ex refusing to cooperate (not producing documents, etc.). Those were the longest and scariest 8 months of my life. I was still subject to his financial and emotional abuses and lived in fear of what bombshell would come in the mail or via the phone each day. I can’t imagine that lasting for years.

It seems like most people are supportive of the reasoning behind a waiting period, but that the actuality is something different. As much as I would like to think that it could be beneficial, I guess it is more likely that in marriages where both partners are willing to communicate and try to work things out, they already have prior to reaching the decision to divorce. And, in cases where they have not, a court order is not going to make them cooperate and it simply becomes a stall on the way to the inevitable conclusion. The courts can control a timeline but they cannot control a person. And, as we all know, it takes two to make a marriage work but only one can destroy it.

Many of you pointed out that there is no waiting period for marriage and suggested that a pause on the front end of matrimony may be more beneficial. I can’t even fathom rushing into marriage, but I know people do. This raises some of the same questions, however. Should there be a process for exceptions (for example, friends of mine fast tracked their wedding because he was undergoing treatment for cancer)? And, again, do we really want the state to make this decision for us?

In an ideal world, people would enter marriage consciously, communicate and work to resolve issues and, if divorce is inevitable, enter into it only after other options have been explored and exhausted. But ideal isn’t real. All we can do is make the best decisions for ourselves and our families that we can in our given situation. As for me, I’m happy to be moving slowly back into matrimony with a guy that doesn’t believe in rushing into divorce while living in a state that allows me to make my own choices on the matter.

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Court Ordered Pause

English: High Court of Australia

Brock and I were in the car the other day when an ad came on the radio for a local divorce attorney (these have increased lately – I guess there is some truth to this being “divorce season”).

I barely registered the ad, but apparently Brock was listening.

When the ad came to an end, he turned to me and said, “I think there should be a mandatory six month waiting period for divorce.”

(Note: I know some states currently have a waiting period; Georgia is not one of them.)

I was shocked. Not at the thought, but at the subject matter. Contrary to what you may think, I rarely discuss divorce in my personal life.

My first reaction to his statement was a sense of comfort. I want to marry a guy that thinks divorce should not be a quick and easy solution. I want to marry a guy that doesn’t have a propensity to run away from a challenge. I want to marry a guy that wants to be married.

But it’s not always that simple.

“In most cases I agree with you,” I said, “But in my situation or in cases of abuse, that would have been an additional assault by the courts. It would have left me open to more financial harm while I waited on the calendar.”

I continued, explaining my thoughts on the issue. I like the idea of a mandatory waiting period, be it six or twelve months. It gives both parties the gift of time. Time for counseling. Time to think through the consequences of a major decision. Time to work out the details of the separation of two lives. Ideally, this would be done prior to the decision to split, but we know that is not always the case.

I also think there needs to be an exception. In cases of abuse or abandonment, a waiting period only prolongs the agony and allows more harm to occur. I think there should be a process (that does not require excessive court fees) where the abused or abandoned spouse can appeal for the wait period to be lifted.

But then there is another part of me that thinks it is none of the state’s business. That I should be allowed to marry and divorce without their approval. Is this a slippery slope issue that could lead to more government control or is it a mandate that would help to preserve the family structure?

I would love to hear from all of you. Do you live in a state with a mandatory wait period? How did that affect you?

Do you agree with a wait period? If so, how long? Would you want exceptions?

Follow Up – Court Ordered Pause: Part Two

Are You Ready For Divorce? 8 Questions You Should Answer | World of Psychology

This is a powerful article regardless of who is initiating the divorce.  It explores the role of fear in each of three divorce frameworks you may find yourself in.  It gives you three “think about” questions to see if you are ready to move forward with a mature and collaborative divorce.   If you have found yourself in the powerless situation with a spouse that refuses to “play fair,” you can use these questions as a starting point for reframing your mindset so that you can have a healthier approach to the divorce.  Regardless of your situation, taking the time to think critically about your marriage, your role in it, and your feelings about it, will only help you.  This is a great starting point on that journey.

Are You Ready For Divorce? 8 Questions You Should Answer | World of Psychology.

I Want a Divorce

Marital Treason

Caution: Rant ahead.  Proceed with care.

An yellow orange warning sign with an ! . Re-u...
An yellow orange warning sign with an ! . Re-uploaded because someone on the English Wikipedia wanted it again. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is so much about the legal process of divorce that is just not fair.  I’m feeling that very acutely right now, as I received an email from someone in my life who is now in the same no-win property situation I found myself in.  In both cases, the spouse was dishonest and actively hiding information.  In both cases, the judge awarded the marital home to the partner with the agreement that they would assume the full note and make payments.  In both cases, that failed to happen.  This puts us in the position of owing money on a home we do not own and cannot sell.  Speaking for my case, I truly felt as though I had no option other than foreclosure.  My ex had disappeared again, I could not afford to pay lawyers any more, and the courts could only change the ownership of the house, not the names on the loan.

I am disgusted by the fact that actions that would be deemed illegal against a stranger are allowed against a spouse.  It is not unlike the way it was (and still is in some cultures) where a husband could forcefully take his wife without it being termed rape because of the legal contract between them.  Why is it that a marriage contract makes despicable behavior tolerable in the eyes of the law?  Why is it that just because I called him,” husband,” he could embezzle my money, steal my files, and abandon joint responsibilities without more than a slight slap on the wrist?  If someone came into my home and did the same, they would be sitting in a jail cell, learning how to do pull-ups on a bunk bed.

I propose we need a new law: marital treason, the act of betraying one’s marriage (there used to be a similar law called petty treason).  This would include adultery, deception (financial and otherwise), and acting in a way that is in opposition to a marriage.  Once convicted, the treasonous spouse would be required to pay restitution (enforced by payroll deduction) and forced to serve community service in a cause chosen by the spouse.  For those, like mine, who like to run, their passports would be confiscated until the requirements of their conviction had been met.  It seems as though the only time the law takes divorce seriously is in the case of child support (don’t get me wrong here, I strongly support hunting down deadbeat parents).  Also, please understand I’m not whining for alimony or excess; I just want what was stolen from me.  The marital treason law would seek to identify and hold responsibility to those who chose to betray their marriage through deception.  It’s only fair.

Okay, I feel a little better now.  Just had to get that off my chest.